They do it for any number of reasons; to keep the romance of the American cowboy alive, for the love of performing or the elaborate cowboy get ups. Whatever the reason, it’s been a fun 35 years of making music for cowboy band Riders in the Sky.
The four-man, Nashville-based band brought their zest for the west to a crowd jazzed for their four-piece harmony and comedy.
Riders in the Sky yodel, sing and fiddle to a mixed crowd on the final day of Stagecoach 2013. (Beth Roessner/The Desert Sun)
Ranger Doug strummed the guitar, Too Slim stroked the bass, Joey the Cowpolka King provided the accordion and Woody Paul fiddled. .
Their work with Disney and Pixar helped them earn two Grammy Awards, making them the only cowboy band to have won the distinction, let along twice.
The Blue Sky Riders feature Gary Burr, who has written 14 No. 1 hits, and Kenny Loggins, who has recorded at least 14 gold albums as a solo artist and member of Loggins & Messina.
So you have to wonder why they ended their set in the Palomino Tent with the Beatles classic, “Help.”
All jokes aside about how this two-year-old band could use all the help they can get to promote their three-month-old, self-produced debut album, the Blue Sky Riders actually have made “Help” the regular finale of their recent concert appearances.
Fans try to cool down at a cooling station during the 2013 Stagecoach country music festival on Sunday April 28, 2013. (Photo by Omar Ornelas / The Desert Sun)
The record-breaking heat wave kicked it up another notch on Sunday — breaking Stagecoach records for the second day in a row.
It hit 107 degrees at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, where more than 45,000 people have crowded in for the Stagecoach Festival.
An appearance at Stagecoach may seem a bit of a stretch for lead singer and songwriter Kearny Nick Jones of psychobilly band Tiger Army, but the artist was right at home among country fans during his Saturday performance.
Unlike Jones’ three-piece gig, his solo act under the stage name Nick 13, allows him to completely submerge himself in the blue grass tunes of the 30s through 60s, eras of music he’s fascinated by.
“As the years went on, I found myself going further and further back to those years as a listener,” said Jones. “I’m just drawn to it.”
Nick 13 poses with reporter Beth Roessner
The beer garden on the west end of the Stagecoach venue underneath a series of white peaked tents is the furthest place from the Mane Stage to watch a show, but it’s packed today.
People were hunkered down, even sitting on the cement while watching Florida Georgia Line.
I’m guessing it’s a combination of dedicated beer drinkers and country music fans seeking shelter from the triple digit temps.
The barbecue at Stagecoach is so good it made one vegan start eating meat again.
Tanna Key, 19, a UCLA student from Georgia was almost embarrassed to admit that she gave in.
“I’m normally vegan but when you have barbecue this good you cant resist,” she said.
What made her give in was the brisket chili from Meat, Inc. and the barbecue sauce from Dirty Harry.
From the south she didn’t think festival barbecue could beat what she’s had back home – but she was wrong.
Playing at a country festival under intense conditions could be enough to throw a band off their game, but Rhode Island-based, folk duo Brown Bird showed fans a bluesy side of music.
The Americana-style band kicked off the final day of Stagecoach on the Mustang Stage. The two don’t consider themselves a country act–the almost-bluesy style or the ornate tattooing on both partners could be indicators–but as the hour-long set continued, the crowd steadily grew.
The heat of the desert wasn’t something they’re used to, admitted singer David Lamb, but the performance didn’t lag.
Rhode Island-based Americana band, Brown Bird, weathered the heat and showed the country fans they can fit right in. (Beth Roessner/The Desert Sun)
MorganEve Swain lent her female voice and effortlessly switched from stand-up bass, violin and cello, while her partner, Lamb stomped out simple-foot percussion and strummed the tunes.
The mercury slowly crept higher and higher and the line approaching the Stagecoach main entry grew longer.
Fans queued up outside of the main gates, seeking shade from a rot iron fence. The impending noon heat and high temperatures of the day were no deterrent for country music fans on the final day of the Stagecoach festival.
The past two days and heat may have taken a toll on some, but many fans were still in high spirits and anxiously awaiting the day’s lineup. Headliner Zac Brown Band was an act on many radars.
Actor Ashton Kutcher attends 2013 Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival held at The Empire Polo Club on April 27, 2013, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)
Ashton Kutcher got into a violent melee with security at the Stagecoach country music festival, according to TMZ.
Kutcher was in the VIP area Saturday afternoon to check out Nick 13 and Dwight Yoakam when a woman approached him to say, “Hi” and shake his hand, according to sources cited by TMZ.
“We’re told that when Kutcher went to greet the woman, security intervened and shoved the two of them … and chaos ensued,” according to TMZ.
Don Williams is back, baby.
Williams, one of the greatest country singers before country went modern,performed a “Farewell Tour of the World” in 2006. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Then he came out of retirement.
He will play Stagecoach at 4:50 p.m. Sunday in the Palomino tent.
Before his set, we wanted to relive this Q&A with Williams, which was originally posted in The Desert Sun on Nov. 17, 2011. It was before he performed at the McCallum Theatre. At the time, interviewer Bruce Fessier wrote:
Williams, 72, spends most of his time on a farm in Floydada, Texas. But he has 17 No. 1 country hits, including the Eric Clapton-covered “Tulsa Time,” and said by e-mail recently he’s enjoying being on the road again.
The Desert Sun: You were called “the reluctant superstar” before Garth Brooks came along. Were you reluctant to become as big as Garth or would you have liked to play stadiums?